When thinking about the unexpected surprises that occur in military life, I was reminded of a story a friend shared with me. An early winter snowstorm had dropped a good layer of fluffy white flakes on her neighborhood. Her little one pleaded, "Mom, I really want to go outside! Pretty please?"
Patiently, she helped him into his snow pants, zipped up his coat, slid on his mittens, and tucked him into his boots. As soon as he was properly dressed for play in the newly fallen snow, the tot exclaimed, "I need to go to the bathroom!" Much like that typical parenting moment, in day-to-day life, something unexpected always seems to come along.
If you’re in a scenario where you’ve found a house that you want to buy, you’ll hope there are no unexpected surprises. One way to feel more prepared for your major purchase is to do a little homework on the home buying process. The steps in Making an Offer and Closing on Your New Home will help you navigate along the path towards homeownership. Follow along as we go over a few points that the ebook covers in greater detail.
Hire a Real Estate Professional
If you’ve found a house that is just what you’ve been looking for, you may be wondering why you’d need to hire a real estate professional?
Ponder this question for a moment: how much do you know about complying with the disclosure rules of your state? You might not have browsed the latest update on your state laws and provisions. (Spoiler alert! It’s a real snooze fest.) In that case, it makes sense to have someone representing you who has working knowledge of that type of information and more.
From a purchase contract to transaction negotiations, a buyer’s agent will know what you need and when you need it. You’ll want to find a real estate professional that is the best fit for your needs.
Negotiate for the Best Deal
With the guidance of your buyer’s agent, you’ll be able to pick an appropriate amount for your offer. If you have your financing lined up with a statement of mortgage pre-approval, you’ll have a solid bargaining position for your chosen price.
For further negotiation, the home buying ebook referenced above covers the important points that your buyer’s agent will go to bat for. Through it all, your goal is to understand what is triggering the buyer to sell. In Making an Offer on Your Dream Home, we’re reminded, "As you negotiate, you’ll want to try to appeal to the motivation of the seller."
You might question:
- Does the seller have a tight timeline before they PCS?
- Can the seller afford to have the house vacant?
Most likely, the seller is looking to complete the sale on a timely basis to avoid having the property sit on the market. With that in mind, you can agree on a reasonable closing date.
Consider Closing Costs and More
Before your closing date arrives, you and your buyer’s agent will walk through the property and note anything that needs to be addressed according to the sale contract. Your agent will then ensure you have the appropriate documents available for your upcoming closing appointment.
On the day of closing, you might get tired of signing your name! There are an abundance of documents to read and sign. Additionally, there can be a variety of costs you’ll have to cover. Keep in mind, the transfer of property ownership is a detailed process and can take some time to complete.
When every document has been signed and every expense has been paid, you’ll be handed the keys to your new home. Hooray!
Make the Most of Your Move-In
You may feel as excited as a kid at Christmas when you arrive at your new address and open the door to your very own house. After a victory twirl in an empty room, you’ll need to dance your way through an important checklist. This could include:
- Make a copy of your closing documents. The original copy of your important paperwork could be tucked in a safety deposit box at your bank. Meanwhile, a copy you’ve made can be filed with other important papers at your home.
- Change the locks. For your safety, it’s a good idea to replace the door locks and update the garage door entry code. You won’t know who else has an extra set of keys from the previous owner.
- Plan where you’d like to add updates. Before your household goods arrive, think about any paint color changes you’d prefer around the house. While you have a blank canvas to work with, measure your windows for curtains and your walls for décor. This also can be a good time to switch out any outdated light fixtures.
- Schedule a deep clean. If you’d like your bathrooms to be sanitized and your kitchen to be daisy fresh it could be worth your while to hire a cleaning company.
- Update your contact information. Now that the home is yours, you can submit a change of address with the postal service form. Also, you’ll probably need to alert your employer and any other important businesses or entities of your new contact information. You’ll also have the chance to send out a nifty greeting to your family and friends. That personal update is crucial so you don’t miss out on your annual birthday card from Great Aunt Martha!
- Introduce yourself. As a military family, as soon as you land in the neighborhood, your kids will most likely canvas the area in search of friends to play with! Our family has always introduced ourselves with a treat for those living nearby--simply something we’ve baked up or a packaged snack. Even if you’re not the most outgoing person, it’s good to check in with your new neighbors, especially before your dog runs into their yard, or, your enormous moving van clogs up the street.
The takeaway from the points shared here is that if you learn more about buying a home, you’ll feel less stressed, even when the unexpected occurs. Your peace of mind is the top priority, especially when in transition with a military move.
It’s yet another reason why MilitaryByOwner provides access to complimentary ebooks along with our informative articles and blog posts. As you go over the details of the home buying process, take the time to enjoy your steps towards homeownership.
By Mary Ann Eckberg